Archive for September, 2019


Prompt #26 – Slosh

The tray of drinks sloshed around as they were deposited in the middle of the large table, the barmaid giving the group of Scions a wink as she slid away.

Iscara reached out for a bottle, flicking the cork out with a thumb, before taking a long chug, and then raising it up, “Cheers.”

Y’shtola chuckled, “I’m sure you’re meant to do that before you start drinking.”

“That was some hours ago,” Alphinaud pointed out, handing the miqo’te the glass of wine he had just poured.

“Yes, and some of us should probably stop,” Thancred interjected, pointedly looking at Ryne, who blushed, and pushed her glass away.

“It’s a celebration Thancred, let the girl enjoy it.”

“She won’t enjoy the hangover tomorrow.”

“Never had one in my life,” the warrior of light grinned at him. Thancred narrowed his eyes at her, and muttered ‘lucky sot’ under his breath.

“Never ever?” Alisaie looked over at the warrior, who shook her head, and earned a sigh in response.

“What’s with the heavy sighing?”

“Oh, nothing serious. Just…” the young elezen looked over at her friend, “Sometimes, I think that I barely know you. I know that’s not true, but…”

Iscara put her bottle down, looking over at Alisaie for several moments, the table quiet. Then she let out a sigh, took a long swing, draining the bottle dry, and said, “Fine, let’s do this.”

“What?”

“You want to know things? About me? Ask away.”

“What, just like that?”

“You are my friends. My best friends. I trust you, all of you. And, lets face it, I am a close-mouthed bitch most of the time. I don’t want you to feel like you don’t know me. Aaaand Lolorito happened to find out I have a sister, and that fact that he knows that when you don’t makes me feel weird. Also I’m pleasantly inebriated, so ask away.”

“You have a sister?”

“Yup. And she’s got eight kids, I’m very used to being called ‘Aunt Is’.”

“How old?”

“Eldest is fourteen now, youngest is only a few months. Nine possibly? I lose count. It’s where all my earrings disappear to, they get used as chew toys.”

“Where do they live?”

“They moved into Ala Mhigo after we took it back from the Garlean’s. Oma brought the merc banner down to fight in the liberation efforts, and once it was free, she wanted to stay. Jaydra brought the family because she’s been wanting to move for a while, and thinks she can get a good foothold with her business in the city.”

“Oma?”

“What business is she in?” The twins simultaneously asked.

“Oma is grandmother. Jaydra’s a goldsmith, she makes a good two thirds of the stuff I wear.”

“Thou has mentioned before in passing that thou does not consider thyself Ala Mhighan. May I enquire as to why, as it seems thy family is closely tied to the city?”

“Oma is Ala Mhigan, and there’s a fair few in my family tree. But there’s also other bits and pieces of different nationalities in there as well. I wasn’t born in Gyr Abania, didn’t grow up there either. I’m highlander, for sure, but personally I don’t feel I have any ties to Ala Mhigo, their culture is second hand to me. I had what you could probably call a ‘blended’ upbringing. More than anything else, I guess I think of myself as ‘Eorzean’.”

“What are those other bits and pieces then?”

“Okay, family tree time. So, Oma is Ala Mhigan, and she got together with a Limonsan, which made my dad. My mum’s father was Ala Mhigan as well, but her mother was the product of an Ala Mhigan and a Gridanian. And I think the Gridanian was a product of a Gridanian and an Ishagardian, but I’d have to ask about that.”

Alisaie was leaning her head on one hand, listening with rapture, “Multicultural indeed.”

Iscara hummed her agreement, knocking back another drink.

“Where were you born then, if not in Gyr Abania?”

“Mor Dhona. Southern shores of Silvertear Lake. Of course, it’s the Carteneau Flats these days.”

“Was there a reason for that?”

“The family and the merc banner, actually back a little bit. So, Oma inherited the mercenary banner, ‘Winter’s Edge’, and made a name for it and herself. So when King Theodoric came to power, and started doing things she didn’t like, she just packed up the banner and went out on an ‘extended work trip’. Basically unofficially quitting the city until it got sorted out, which, well you all know what happened there. And since everyone knew what she was doing, some of the family members of the mercs under her banner came with her, and it kind of grew, until it was this large nomadic band, going where the work was. Mor Dhona was empty, and central, and a pretty good place to make a more central camp, so there were there for a few years, and that’s when I was born.”

“What’s your favourite colour?” Ryne’s soft voice came from the corner.

Iscara smiled at the young girl, “Blue. More specifically, pale blues, like ice crystals, or hydrangea flowers”

“I’ve got one,” Thancred leaned forward, “Best and worst fights. Your opinion.”

Iscara winced, “Give me something easy, why don’t you,” she took a swig of the bottle as she thought. “Worst, Zenos. Rhalgr’s Reach was probably the worst of them all. Best? Thordan. Not for the fighting, that was easy, he wasn’t as good as he thought he was. None of them were, and that’s why showing them what a real Fury could do was so satisfying. Not healthy, but really, really satisfying.”

“Are you a follower of Halone?”

“Yup. And before someone asks, no, I was before Ishgard. I’ve been her follower since childhood, she was who I invoked when I was named.”

Y’shtola frowned a little, “Were you not named when you were born?”

“No. Not properly. There’s a, I guess who’d call it a belief in my family that a person’s name says a lot about them. So when children mature enough, they can pick their own name. Until then, they tend to have nicknames or a ‘kit name’. Although there’s a couple of people I know who liked those names so much they kept them.”

“So you chose the name Iscara?”

“And Wintermere. We all tend to have winter in our surname, keeps the family connection. Mere is an old name for a lake, referencing where I was born.”

“And Iscara?”

She smiled, “My first ever friend gave the name to me. Well, she gave me a title in her language, and Iscara is kind of what is translates to when you put in Eorzean.”

“Which language doth it stem from?”

Iscara chuckled, “You’re clever people. Learned people. I’m not going to tell you, but I would be interested to see if you can work it out. And what it means.”

Urianger raised an eyebrow, Y’shtola chuckled. Alphinaud dived into a tome in his bag, Alisaie rolled her eyes. Ryne looked slightly confused, and Thancred shrugged, “Well I hope there isn’t a prize because I have no chance of winning it.”

The warrior of light chuckled, “I don’t know. You’re pretty good at turning up unusual information when you want to.”

“So there is a prize?”

“You want something more than the satisfaction of knowledge?”

“Yup.”

She tapped the table, “Alright. That pool Tataru has going. About my love life.”

“Ooooh, you know about that?”

“Course. Anyway. I’ll tell the winner the answer.”

There was a moment of silence, then Alphinaud stood up suddenly, redness across his cheeks, “SorrybutIthinkIneedtogotobenowgodnightall,” he said without breathing before turning and abruptly walking away from the table.

“Oi! Don’t you dare think you can go and break into the crystal tower at this point at night!” His twin yelled at him, also leaving the table to chase after him.

“Prithee excuse me, and I shall see that they do not cause too much ruckus,” Urianger said, exiting at a more sedate pace.

Y’shtola sighed, “You want to look in the crystal tower as much as they do.”

“The coin that hast flowed into aforementioned pot is vast.”

The thaumaturge waved a hand at him.

“Not joining them Y’shtola?”

“I doubt the information is contained within the Tomes of the Exarch. And yourself Thancred?”

“Oh, I was simply planning on taking a more immediate approach. More wine my friends?”

Iscara chuckled, leaning forward and meeting his eyes, “I could drink everyone else in the entire Crystarium under the table and still be lucid enough to not tell you a damn thing.”

“Now that sounds like a challenge.”

Aymeric hung his armour on the manikin, adjusting it until it so it hung properly, the blue and gold coat shimmering in the firelight now that it had been cleaned. His boots were underneath, already tended to and polished, and Naegling had been first to receive attention, resting in a bracket on the wall.

Left in just his under-layers, he turned back to the room at large, smiling as his gaze fell upon the bed and the room’s other occupant.

Whilst he had been cleaning his armour, the warrior of light had been bathing, cleaning the muck and grime and blood of whatever she had been up to that day off. But now she was lying on the bed, one towel still half covering her, her chest moving in the rhythmic pattern of someone sleeping.

He quietly moved across the room to gently sit on the edge of the bed. Iscara was a light sleeper by nature, and had admitted to him some time ago that she didn’t sleep like other people. Even before she had gained the title ‘Warrior of Light’ she would doze rather than sleep, taking short naps when she needed them rather than the long sleep that most other people engaged in. She didn’t know why it was, when asked she had said that nowhere felt ‘comfortable’ enough, and joked that maybe it was the echo keeping a constant eye out for trouble.

Reaching out a hand, his fingers gently traced down her tan skin, over the edges of her often covered back tattoo, the white shapes etching out an outline that he often thought resembled a dragon in flight. She didn’t even stir at his touch, and he felt an enormous contentment at that.

That she could sleep, truly sleep, in his presence was an expression of trust unlike any other he had known. To know that she was comfortable around him, and trusted him enough to be this venerable, filled his heart with emotion.

Leaning over, he moved the towel off, and replaced it with the blanket, tucking it in around her before he kissed her shoulder.

“Sleep well,” Aymeric whispered.

Prompt #24 – Unctuous

A herd of small Soblyn’s were skittering over the rocks. Ashwin’s head twitched around, almost reaching for an arrow to knock to his bow.

Iscara chuckled at her nephew, “I think you’ve slain enough things today. And they aren’t big enough to be a menace to anyone.”

“The big ones are.”

“Certainly, but these aren’t big ones, are they?”

He let the arrow fall back into the quiver, but still kept his bow out, held in his left hand. Iscara shifted the babe on her hip, dislodging him from chewing on her earring, which he promptly grabbed for as soon as he was in his new position.

“So how’s the city.”

Ashwin shrugged, “It’s…different, but I think I like it. There’s loads more people, and they’re not like the clan, but I think that’s good. And the food here is great. Not so much the weather.”

“Doesn’t rain much, does it?”

“It saves it up and then does a month’s worth in one go. The storms here are huge.”

They entered the city through one of the gates, nodding to the guard, and made their way through the tall buildings to a more central part of the city. In one of the squares dotted about the city, they came across a Hyur and Lalafell who were talking with each other, the pleasant smiles of cut-throat merchants on both of their faces.

Iscara gave the Lalafell’s bodyguard a nod, and he returned it, clearly suppressing some curiosity about why the warrior of light was currently bouncing a baby on one hip.

Lolorito and Jaydra reached out hands, and shoke on whatever they had just been talking about. Iscara had no idea what that deal might be, but took it as a sign that the business was concluded.

“I should certainly like to see some samples.”

“Of course, although, you might have already, I do have several notable clients who wear my work.”

“Oh?” Lolorito seemed interested, before his gaze caught the movement and he looked over, “Ah! Our esteemed warrior of light. What brings you to this humble merchant today?”

“Nothing, it’s her I’m after,” Iscara enjoyed watching Lolorito’s mustache twitch a little, and then again as she handed her youngest nephew back to his mother, and stripped her earrings from her ears, “You owe me a new pair, he’s chewed these ones practically to death.”

“Again? You should have given him his toy.”

“Like all your brood, they always seem to prefer the dangly things to the ones they are meant to use.”

“Lady Jaydra, perchance is the warrior of light one of your clients? I do recall that you have been seen wearing some unusual jewellery at Ul’dahn functions.”

Jaydra looked at Iscara, who shrugged, “Yes, my sister is fond of wearing my creations. My demand in Ishgard stems from her stays there.”

“Sister? Well, I daresay this has been a day of unexpected turns.”

“After you and the Sultana worked on the salt mines together, I lost the urge to drop-kick you over the nearest tall building. I hope that you dealings with my sister proves fulfilling in the same way, lest my urge return, with a pressing and imminent need to be fulfilled,” Iscara crossed her arms as she looked down. She didn’t often threaten, but for the oily lalafell, she made an exception.

“Of course, of course. A pleasure as always.” He gave the pair of them a short bow, before walking off, bodyguard in tow.

“I do hope he tried to use that information,” Jaydra grinned at her.

Iscara grunted, “I need a shower. He might be a great businessman, but he’s still an oily snake.”

b404a709222_img1Aymeric finished writing his comments at the bottom of one piece of parchment, before putting it to one side, and pulling the next towards him, switching his focus from military strategy to economic concerns.

His throat itched a second before he had to raise a hand to his mouth to catch the dry cough that rattled around the study. Hm smothered a second, reaching out for the pot of tea that he kept at one corner of the desk, and realised as soon as he picked up the handle that it was empty, the last dredges drained with his previous cup.

The Twelve appeared to be smiling at him however, as there was a knock at the door, and a familiar Hyur appeared in the crack, “Tea?”

“By the Fury, yes.” He croaked out, only realising now how long he had been in his study. He leaned back, quill dropping from his hand, closing his eyes to rub them, and ease his hands out of their cramped states.

The sound of china against wood, glugging water, and the aroma of Coerthan tea leaves hit his senses, and he reached out, eyes a little blurry, to take the cup from her and gulping down the first few sips, caring not for the scalding temperature.

“No birch syrup?” Her tone was fond, if teasing, “You must be thirsty.”

“Parched.” He agreed, leaning back in his chair. 

The warmth of her body came in close as she leaned on one of the armrests, one hand going to the back of his neck, lazily stroking up and down, brushing his hair ends about. Between that and the warm cup of tea in his hand, Aymeric was most content to close his eyes and lean back into the comfort.

He went through three cups of tea before Iscara leaned in, her head resting at the back of his shoulder, nose just brushing his neck, her breath warm and tickling, “Better?”

“Much.”

“Olbont says you’ve been here since the seventh bell of the morning.”

“Do I want to know what the bells tolls now?”

“Probably not. But it’s certainly late enough for you to be done for the day. More than a day, in fact.”

“Far be it for me to cast aspersions on the one who has graced me with salvation this hour, but you are known throughout Eorzea for working all hours of the day and night.”

She chuckled, “At least I get out the house. Change things up a bit. Take a break every now and then. You’ll meld to the chair before long.”

He couldn’t help but groan an agreement, “A change of pace then. The sparring grounds?”

“That’s one option.”

It was the tone that shot straight through him, hitting low and hard, as Aymeric opened his eyes to look at her, but didn’t get further than the edge of the armrest. She was wearing that dress again. The one in pale blue, that looked so elegant with its high neck and silver edging, until she moved and it revealed slits all the way up. Of course, sitting down, as she was now, they were almost impossible to keep closed.

She was still hovering at his shoulder, midnight eyes dancing at him, playful and suggestive. Suddenly, he couldn’t think of much else.

“I believe I would be very interested in seeing what option you would pick for us tonight, my dearest.”

Iscara smiled at him, finally moving in those few inches more so that she could seal their lips together

Taking prompt #26 from the 2018 FFXIV Writes Challenge – Not A Weapon

 

“Here,” the Warrior of Light held a mug out to the young elezen, a gentle curl of steam rising up into the night air.

“What is it?” Alphinaud asked, taking it anyway and sniffing.

“Mulled fruit punch.”

“Alcoholic?”

“Only a splash.”

He blew on the surface of the liquid, and took a sip, “That’s rather good. An old Ala Mhigan recipe?”

“I have no idea, I just asked for something warm.”

Alphinaud smiled, curling his hands around the cup, “I appreciate it.”

“I think you’ve earned it, after all the sleuthing and running around you did today…and shrieking.”

His ear tips went bright red and he spluttered slightly, “I have already remarked, that I would find it a kindness if you did not refer to that…lapse in judgment!”

“At least you didn’t have to swim,” Iscara teased him, before giving in, “I kid Alph, I kid. Teasing aside, I am happy that you joined us in this little adventure. It wasn’t all that long ago that you would have turned up your nose to chasing rumours of treasure.”

Alphinaud paused for a moment, looking up at the warrior, “I’ve…the hardships we’ve faced, the trials we’ve overcome, and the victories won, they’ve all taught me more than I ever thought I would learn in this land. You’ve taught me more than I ever would have believed. When I think back on how I was…I’m glad. Glad that you bore with me, glad that I can now call you friend, rather than just thinking of you as a weapon, a tool to be used. You are not a weapon.”

“I’m not just a weapon.”

The elezen frowned, looking up at her over the rim of the mug.

“When you said that, calling me a ‘Weapon of Light’, there was something I wanted to say to you, but I knew you wouldn’t understand it.”

“How about now?”

“Now. Now I think I can say that you’re wrong both times. I’m not that I am a weapon. It’s not that I’m not a weapon. I’m the warrior of light, and part of that is fighting, sometimes a large part. I can swing battles just with my presence, defeat beings thought of as gods, I can become stronger when I need to, because the work never stops. But as well as that, I inspire people. I bring hope. I laugh, I cry, I hurt, but above all, I love. Do you see what I’m saying?”

Alphinaud had the cup between his hands, thumbing the sides gently as he thought, looking up at his friend, “You…you choose to be a weapon when the need arises. Because you know you can be. Because…you want to be, for us.”

She gave him a proper smile, “I’m proud of you Alphinaud. And proud to be your friend.”

He ducked his head, desperately trying to hide his red cheeks, “Thank you, Iscara. And thank you, for sharing that with me.”

The tall Hyur reached over, gently pulling the shorter man into a hug and gave him a brief squeeze, “You earned it.”

Prompt #21 – Crunch

The Magitek Vanguard thrust one of it’s pointed appendages out at her, and the Warrior had no trouble sliding under it, her own spear coming up to pierce one of it’s legs, ripping out several bits of presumably important interior. They both spun around, Iscara much quicker than the lumbering magitek, and wrecked the other knee joint just as efficiently.

There was a clanking behind her, and she spare a half-second glance to see a Magitek Colossus lumbering up to join in the fight. Rolling her eyes, she turned back to the Vanguard, scoring a ling across and arm joint that stopped on of the drills whirling. It was still a very large chunk of sharp metal, and she dove to one side to avoid it, before immediately reversing her momentum, rolling over the top of it to avoid the sword the Colossus swung down, hitting the floor and showering them all in sparks.

Rolling through its legs, she leapt up, briefly landing on its shoulders as a stepping point so she could leap up into the air, far higher than any other than her fellow dragoons could manage, aiming down at the Colossus, spear point driving straight between the horns.

With a grunt, she leveraged her spear back out, taking a huge chunk of vital components with her, before she backflipped off the Colossus, onto the Vanguard, driving her spear down on it in exactly the same way.

Lightly landing on the Castrum floor, her spear held out to one side, she let out a breath. And that was precisely when the explosives she had set decided to run out, demolishing scores of crates of new, very expensive equipment that had just been delivered to the Castrum.

She was just mapping out her exit in her head, when there was a creaking behind her. Iscara frowned, and turned, just in time to see the magitek she had defeated inches from her face.

An almighty crunch echoed round the Castrum, grinding of metal on metal as both Magitek armour’s fell over, jostled by the vibrations from the explosions, straight onto the Warrior of light, who in turn heard and felt a crack in several places, including when she hit her head against the metal floor.

Clenching her teeth, she rolled onto her front, metal poking into her from all places, and pressed herself up, able to shove the metal aside enough to crawl out, hissing through her teeth as she moved her legs.

Ignoring the mess behind her, she ran from the Castrum, dodging around the few frantic imperials that were on her path, until she was back outside in Mor Dhona, circling round the back of the rock she had left her Chocobo behind.

Emblem whistled at her as she came around, leaning against the rock, drawing in pained breaths through clenched teeth. Right leg, definitely broken, likely in more than one place. Ribs, probably a mess. Wrists, not broken, maybe sprained. Blood, some, certainly enough to make her look like a savage, as the imperials were so fond of calling her.

On the good side, she could tell Slafborn that the Imperials weren’t likely to be a problem in the near future.

On the bad side, Y’shtola was going to absolutely have a fit at her for running on a broken leg.

Iscara sighed, gave Emblem a scratch before climbing up on his back, and gently nudging him into a walk back to Revenant’s Toll.

“I don’t care if you were on another world. Realm. Shard. Whatever you want to call them, you could have sent me a bloody letter.”

“The only way I had to pass messages was through the services of a fae. You would be far madder at me had I used them and then they had gotten your horde into mischief. Because they would have done.”

“They wouldn’t be that bad.”

“Moogles. With a cruel streak. And proper magic.”

Jaydra pursed her lips and hummed, in that way she did when she knew her sister had a point, but she didn’t want to admit it. Iscara didn’t smile, instead bouncing the youngest of her nephews on her knee as they lounged on a free space on the worktop. 

Her sister was hammering out the delicate metal, constantly measuring the thickness with a tiny gauge, before hammering in some more. It took her awhile to be satisfied, but once she was, she took a wickedly sharp pair of cutters and bisected the long metal bar neatly down the middle. Both halves were then returned to the tiny forge, heated until they were malleable again, before Jaydra quickly transferred them to hardened wooden sticks of different sizes and curled them around, pressing them flat until they cooled a little, and the bases of the rings had taken shape.

Iscara continued to play with the baby as her sister worked on the commision she had asked of her, sealing the gap in the rings, checking the size, sanding and polishing them.

The door to the workshop opened and Iscara’s eldest niece wandered in, carrying two bowls, “Mama? I think I have the colours right now.”

“Let’s have a look then, hmm, much better. And you’ll know what to do next time?”

“Account for the colour changes that heat will bring into the materials.”

“Good, go melt them down then, I’ll be ready for them by the time they’ve finished.”

“Aunt Is, Aunt Is, LOOK!”

The relative calm of the workshop was shattering as another one of the horde dashed in, a squirming lizard held between her hands and she shoved it at her aunt.

“JITTERBUG! How many times have I told you, you don’t run in the workshop.”

“But mama!”

“No buts! No go put that poor thing back outside where you found it, and for the love of the twelve, wash your hands afterwards.”

Iscara smiled at the pouting child and ruffled her hair, “I’m staying for dinner my little bug, we can play later. But you should go put the lizard back outside, it’s not happy here.”

With a dramatic sigh, the young Hyur turned and walked back out of the shop, lizard still wriggling in her hands.

“How are you finding Gyr Abania to live in then?”

“Oh it’s certainly different. The heat for one, but I find that quite pleasant. The mountains were terribly cold.”

“Bugs,” the tone in which her niece delivered the one word had Iscara smiling.

“How are those crystals darling?”

“Almost there, few shards left,” she stirred the pots with a long metal rod, checking them over.

Jaydra had the pair of rings in front of her, a channel carved out of the middle of each of them. Iscara had tried her hand at leatherworking, and could turn out something that wasn’t a disaster, but she wasn’t the craftswomen that her sister was, and she certainly didn’t understand how goldsmithing worked. Thus the next few processes were a complete mystery to her, as her sister somehow took the crystal mixture and used one bowl on each ring, filling in the grove she had made.

Content to continue playing with her nephew, as he chewed on a wooden beads charm that had been made for him, she let her sister get on with her work, only looking up when her eldest nephew cracked open the door and caught her eye, waving a hunt sheet under his nose.

Later, she mouthed to him, and he grinned and shut the door on them again.

It took another bell for Jaydra to finish polishing and fussing and doing all the tiny little bits until she was happy with them.

“There,” she said, holding out the pair of rings on a small tray.

Iscara gave the baby to his older sister before she reached out and took the rings, looking them over. The metal was pale silver, made into rather wide bands, because the middle of each ring was filled in with crystal – one a pale blue that was almost exactly the colour of Aymeric’s eyes, and the other was a dark midnight blue, matching hers. She looked at the inside of the rings, the engraved words making her smile.

Forged in Fury, Tempered in Ice

It wasn’t classically romantic, but it was true, and reflected the both of them well.

Slipping the light blue one onto her finger, she grinned at her sister, “They’re perfect.”

Jaydra looked smug as Iscara wrapped her arms around her sister, giving her a squeeze, “I hope Aymeric enjoys his. You should bring him around again.”

Iscara laughed, “If we can find a free moment. And he did get mobbed rather heavily last time, I might have to bribe him.”

“Oh no, however could you bribe the man you share a bed with I wonder?”

Iscara smacked her sister’s shoulder, as Jaydra cackled, and linked their arms together, “Come on, let’s see what Eric’s made for dinner.”

Prompt #19 – Radiant

As a note, this entry contains spoilers for the Il Mheg Shadowbringers main plot quests, so if you are likely to play the game/are playing it and haven’t reached the end, you may not want to read to avoid the spoilers contained within!

“To strive for a dream you will never see – to sow seeds that others might one day taste the fruits of your garden – that is the beauty of your kind. Burn bright and shine as only you can. These blessings, your lovely branch will accept in your stead.”

Feo Ul floated up, the four blessings orbiting around her before coalescing around her, the tiny pixie disappearing into a brilliant ball of light that filled the dreary castle, quickly becoming too much to look at.

When Iscara could look again, she saw her branch’s wings first, much bigger than before, but the same brilliant orange, matching her fiery hair that was still held back in bunches, a tiara nestled on top.She was tall, much taller than the Hyur now, an elegant dress fluttering around her graceful form, over the shoes. The sceptre completed the blessings, looking much the same as it had for the previous King, with sparkle gently falling from it’s tip.

“Rejoice and revel, for the Kingdom of Rainbows is forever young.”

Iscara smiled up at her friend, her lovely branch, “Feo Ul, My Radiance.”

It was then that a smile came across the fae’s face, one much more familiar to those that had spent any time with the Fae. One that was mischievous, and playful, and just a little cruel. The King extended a hand out to her adorable sapling.

“Now, shall we attend to those unwise enough to trespass in our realm?”

Taking the hand with her own, Iscara gave it a squeeze, her own bronze skin lit up by the glow the Fae exuded, “Lets.”

Capture

Prompt #18 – Wilt

Even the Waking Sands, built mostly underground, couldn’t escape the sweltering heat that permeated across Eorzea. If the Antecedent hadn’t said that she would soon need her help, the Warrior of Light would have been in the Shroud, finding a cool river to sit in for the day.

Alas, there was more work to do, and so, here she was, lounging in one of the alcoves of the stone building, having given up on fanning herself. It was too warm to move.

Urianger walked into the room, a book open in one hand, and yet more scrolls tucked under his arm. She had no idea how he could stand to still be in that hooded robe, even if he was wearing sandals. This heat was just…oppressive. Almost unnaturally so.

“Was Ifrit summoned without us noticing?”

There was the barest hint of a smile in his words, “Alas, if only it were that simple. The weather yet remains a beast unable to be fought or tamed, I fear we will forever be at her mercy.”

Iscara grunted, slipping down the alcove slightly. Give her a blizzard any day, she could handle the deepest chills of winter without batting an eyelid.

“Did someone ask for mercy?” A cheerful voice called through the room, causing the warrior to turn her head towards their high-spirited receptionist, and then sit up as she heard the chinking of ice and spotted the tray held in her hands.

“Tataru, you legend.

The lalafell smiled up at her as she took one of the tall glass of orange juice, complete with many, many ice cubes, and had to stop herself from draining it all in one go, instead slurping up a couple of the ice cubes, letting them melt across her tongue. Urianger chuckled as he also helped himself to a glass.

“Good?”

She nodded, hand flicking out in a short sign, heavenly.

Tataru beamed, “I’ve got orange slices and more juice for later, and I’ve managed to get some ice crystals from the Thaumaturges guild, so we’re in good supply. I’m not going to let a little heat wave get in our way, you just leave it to me!”

Prompt #17 – Obeisant

“May I ask for this dance?”

Aymeric straightened up out of the bow, extending one hand to her, his light blue eyes looking at her. The finery that adored the Lord Commander was a far cry from the armour he was often in, but then again, the warrior of light was not often found in a dress.

She smiled, put her glass down, and reached out to take his hand with hers, silver jewellery and adornments tinkling gently as she moved with the elezen out onto the dance floor. They passed by Artoirel and Emmanellain both, the elder brother having not left the floor in quite some time due to the queue of ladies seeking his attention. But then it was his inauguration party as the new Count Fortemp, he was supposed to be the center of attention tonight.

Iscara herself had already had several dances, with all three Fortemps, a few Knights, men and women both, and Alphinaud, although the young scion had scarce known what to do with his feet most of the time. But this dance, this was the one that was she had hoped for, skin tingling ever so slightly as they reached a space and turned to each other. His hand on her lower back, hers to his shoulder, their other ones clasping together, and they started to move.

She had come to this land full of mistrust and wariness, on the back of the biggest betrayal she had ever experienced, and just as she had slowly won the city over, so too had it won her affection back. And no one more so than Aymeric. Practical and compassionate, she had watched his actions, heard his words, and steadily, he had become a friend. Perhaps, even more so than that.

They twirled, her skirts flaring out, his sash trailing after them as they matched each other’s steps, both of them experienced at moving together. She’d felt it when fighting alongside him, and was secretly pleased that dancing was no different.

Perhaps she was lying to herself when she said perhaps. She could pinpoint the moment she realised that Aymeric had her absolute trust, something even some of the scions had yet to win from her, as close as they were as a group – It was when he had bowed to Midgardsormr, and spoke of the future, of the effort he would put forth into it. As Midgardsormr remembered his words, so too did she. She never ceased to believe either, even when it was hard.

He brought her in close again, the warmth of his hand easy to feel through the dress, causing yet another tingle down her spine. They looked at each other, light blue meeting dark, and Iscara hoped they would continue dancing for a long while yet.

Aymeric

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